tv Deadline White House MSNBC July 12, 2017 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
that does it for me this hour. "deadline: white house" with willie geist in for nicolle wallace starts right now. >> good afternoon. it is 4:00 here in new york. i'm willie geist in for nicolle wallace this afternoon as she enjoys some time away. the white house still regrouping after this week's news of donald trump jr.'s meeting with a russian attorney. deputy white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders appearing in an off camera briefing last hour as the president prepares to leave tonight for france. sanders telling reporters trump and his son have spoken recently but once again the president failed to fill in the blanks about his own involvement at large. >> i'm not sure about specific communications. and the nature of those conversations. i know that they have spoken at least some point over the last few days but beyond that i don't have further details. >> president trump did appear for an interview with the christian broadcasting network and he has not touched on the subject of his son and meeting.
national newspapers filled with questions about trump jr.'s meeting and intrigue about whether or not there are staff moves in the white house and what the leakers are. and how much legal exposure did the president and his son-in-law jared kushner have at this point? don jr. explained how he said that meeting at trump tower in june of 2016 played out. >> us a little taken aback by her saying -- talking about me pressing for the information. but as you can see from the e-mails the pretext of the meeting was, hey, we have information and there was even some small talk -- i don't remember what it was. it was sort of nonsensical and garbled and went on to, you know, a story about russian adoption and how we could help. i think it became apparent to jared and paul who i think jared left after a few minutes -- >> she said that, yeah. >> i do remember that. we were all there. i was basically sitting there and listening as a courtesy to my acquaintance.
>> joining me this afternoon is kelly o'donnell, julia hersh field davis and ashley parker who had one of the news making articles today on what the paper called a category 5 hurricane brewing in the white house. and our panel today joining me on set "washington post" columnist, msnbc analyst eugene robinson. former clinton communations -- communications director jennifer palmieri and with us from washington, msnbc's senior political analyst mark halperin. good to see you all. i want to go back to the white house. fresh interview between president trump and pat robertson. what did we learn? >> we are not learning anything about the president's son. so far, in clips released by the christian broadcasting network nothing about donald trump jr. and his meeting with the russian lawyer or any of that firestorm. instead, we do hear the president talk about his
relationship with vladimir putin, the work that they did together at the g20. the president talking about the sanctions -- rather the cease-fire of in syria. holding for at least these immediate few days and also talking about wanting to see the senate deliver to him a repeal of the health care law. some frustration from the president on that. something he and the others have campaigned on and sheems -- and he seems eager and irritated that they have not been able to get that done so far. >> so julie, we didn't hear in the interview about the meeting last june. but donald trump called this a witch-hunt. the greatest in history. what more response can we expect, what's the mood inside the west wing right now? >> well, i mean, it was interesting that it even took the president that long to come out and support of his son. we saw him react very angrily to how ivanka trump was treated at the g20. it was -- we were sort of waiting to see what he had to
say about this controversy after the sort of the statement after statement that changed the story a little bit on donald trump jr.'s meeting with this russian lawyer. he basically said my son is a high quality individual, he's been transparent and open. he's come out and given the whole story. but there are a lot of questions that still remain and in the white house i think they're very well aware these are not questions that are going to go away and they're not questions that they're prepared to take. there's a lot of legal jeopardy around this meeting. there's a question of whether the president himself knew about it. of course we heard donald trump jr. say in the interview last night that he had not discussed it with his father. but that is going to really hamstring their ability to get ahead of this story. i think there are a lot of questions about what more the president can say without getting a little too close to what is really one of the more damaging revelations of the last few weeks on this story. >> trump jr. saying it wasn't worthy of telling his father because it was a nothing
meeting. that's his account of what happened inside the room. ashley parker, before i get to you, i want to play the sound of president trump with pat robertson a few moments ago. >> well, look, we had a good meeting. i think we had an excellent meeting. one thing we did is we have a cease-fire in a major part of syria where there was tremendous bedlam and tremendous killing. and by the way, this is now four days. the cease-fire has held for four days. those cease-fires haven't held at all. that's because president putin and president trump made the deal and it's held. i don't know what's going to happen. maybe as we're speaking they start shooting again. but this has held unlike all of the other cease-fires that didn't mean anything. >> the president there talking about his meeting last week in hamburg with vladimir putin and what he said were the positive results of that two hours and change get together. ashley, you're looking at this what you're calling in the paper today a category 5 hurricane inside the west wing. what's going on right now? what do people think about donald trump jr. a guy who
exists outside that west wing ecosystem, putting so much pressure on them right now? >> sure. well, first to be clear it wasn't actually us calling it a category 5 hurricane. that was a close republican ally of the white house calling it a category 5 hurricane and someone else compared it to house of cards on netflix. i think what the white house is feeling is a tremendous sense of frustration basically and even the people -- some people say this is a real issue. you can't argue with the facts. maybe as julie just said, some issues of legal jeopardy for the president's son and potentially others who get ensnared. even people who said this is overheated or overblown. this is not really a legal headache. it's a pr catastrophe and nightmare because it's again this russia cloud that the white house can't seem to shake. coming back over the administration. it something that upsets the president, makes him more prone to the sorts of tweets we have come to know that get him in trouble. and also again, distracts from his foreign trip he went on, they're expecting good coverage
out of, it will follow him to paris and sort of influences everything that happens in this white house. including the health care bill he's now trying to pass. >> i want to give you first crack at this, as the clinton campaign's communication director if you look at the e-mail put on twitter yesterday. it said there are official documents that would incriminate hillary and would be useful to your father. that's from the e-mail in to donald trump jr., 1 minutes later he replies, i love it, let's get it together. >> it's a lot more egregious than i had thought. i thought low level collusion, maybe they were colluding with wikileaks, but i didn't expect something this quite vivid. if i got an e-mail like that i would have thought it was a set-up. i would have thought that the russians were trying to entrap me. it said in the subject line
clinton/russia. i would have wanted that in the hands of the fbi and off my computer as fast as possible. i think there was a lot more happening in realtime. i don't accept that the president didn't -- wasn't part of it. you know, the same day that donald jr. accepted the invite to attend the meeting trump himself said, you know, in a few days we're going to have a big speech that lays out the terrible things that hillary clinton has done. i remember that day, we put together a whole team to get ready to defend. defend her. and that never came. this speech never came because i have to surmise they didn't get anything out of the meeting. >> did you have a sense that any of this was going on? obviously the intel agencies didn't come out until october the 7th to present what they knew. did you on the clinton campaign feel like something was happening there? >> i suspected that it was -- we knew that the dnc had been hacked by that point. right around that same day.
like within days of that. of this meeting. and suspected it was the russians because it came from the obama white house and that was normally who was hacking you. but never imagined at that point something at this level that the russians -- russians, you know, they hack all the time. they hack everybody and try to get information on the political candidates, not that they'd take the information and be part of the leaking targets of it. >> the defense from donald trump jr. was twofold. we're new at this, i get the e-mail, i have to replay to the e-mail. the second part was yes, we had the meeting but no significant information exchanged hands, therefore, nothing happened. nothing to be afraid of. they didn't see fit so report it. jared kushner was in the room as well. >> not only that but we had month after month of denial of anything to do with. we don't have anything to do with russia, we don't know where
it is, we have nothing to do with russia. and for this to come up in such -- as you said such explicit terms from the russian government, it's dirt on hillary clinton. would you like some? >> within months of electing your father. >> exactly to help donald trump get elected president. so it looks like a set-up. >> yeah. >> but the response was oh, yeah i'd love it. so let's have a meeting. that's just extraordinary. it's just extraordinary. >> well, the defense is i called up my drug dealer for drugs but he was out. >> yes. >> right. that's -- >> i hate when that happens by the way. >> that's essentially what he is saying. that the meeting would have been a successful one if a foreign government had provided incriminating or politically advantageous information and successfully meddled in the campaign. i don't what washes is the
naivete charge. donald trump jr. was quoted as saying a large amount of business came from russia. this was set up as an acquaintance in the miss universe contest held in moscow. so the connections between donald trump jr., his father and russia are actually fairly extensive. from the psychological stand point, if this were the big nothing burger that trump and his team keep insisting it is, he wouldn't be so nervous about it. people aren't nervous about nonscandals. >> mark halperin, that's another layer to the story, reporting that donald trump himself, the president of the united states on the trip back from the g20 helped write and oversaw the writing of the response which was that this was a meeting between donald trump jr. and this russian intermediate about adoption policy out of russia. obviously that's crumbled since then. but the point being, the
president of the united states was in the room crafting the response to this which turned out not to be true. >> well, the minute we saw that statement the first one and then the second one a lot of us asked that question, it was asked on monday morning's "morning joe" where did that statement come from? i don't think we leaped to the conclusion that it was written by people in the government and approved by the president of the united states, but that's what "the new york times" is reporting. this goes to one of the many layers of the onion that we're not seeing right now. which has to do with how much coordination there is amongst those who are involved here. it's one thing to coordinate when you're dealing with press inquiries or within an administration maybe dealing with the capitol hill. but this is more complicated. this involves government entities and private entities like don jr. and it involves an independent counsel who is looking at potential criminal charges. coordination under most cases is fine. coordination because it yielded a statement that was a series of statements that turned out to be
untrue even though they were echoed by the white house chief of staff sunday morning is a problem and may become a problem legally for some people. >> ashley parker, we are hearing about shakeups in the west wing since after the president was inaugurationed. you have some reporting about ivanka trump and the president's son-in-law, jared kushner, pushing for a shakeup again. >> yes. a report in -- in reporting the story we found out that jared kushner and ivanka trump have been pushing the president to get rid of reince priebus. he's the one who's really earned their ire. that said, i have to say, you're right. this has been going on for a while. just because two people are against you doesn't mean you'll be gone. these are two powerful people but it's entirely possible, sure they're pushing for him to be out. reince has other people he doesn't like. this is a white house riven by competing factions and it's just sort of business as usual.
>> there's an element here of crying wolf. we have heard about reince priebus being run out for months and he's still sitting where he's sitting. >> for the president for all his firing on "the apprentice" he doesn't like to fire people out all. if you start firing people, whom do you get to replace them? how do you find really top rank people who are going to come into this situation? not only with the palpable chaos there is inside the white house, but with the potential legal jeopardy of, you know, going out and making representations that later are undermined by the president or by discoveries by investigators or whatever. that's a real risk. i don't think a lot of people are going to be -- >> the president's -- the basic problem is that the president's political interests and his governance interests move in separate directions.
the reason the president tweets is that it stirs the pot. it distracts the conversation. it outrages some segment of the media, especially perhaps -- you know, around these and other tables. that stirs the breitbart base. that works in his favor but it's a disaster for actually passing health care or any other form of major legislation because you have a white house that's sort of collapsing on itself instead of trying to work with congress. >> as we go to break, i want to give you the opportunity to respond to a criticism raised over the last 24 hours, talking about the clinton campaign and the story on january the 11th about ukrainian efforts to sabotage trump. the government officials, the piece reads tried to help hillary clinton and undermine trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. they disseminated documents implementing a top aide in corruption and they helped to research damaging information on trump. the criticism was this was happening on the other side too, not just a trump/russia
allegation. there was a clinton/ukraine allegation. >> i think they relate it back to the one clinton staffer i never met. and if this is about directing the hacking of the rnc and of donald trump's chief of staff and that this woman -- these officials met personally with podesta and chelsea clinton and others, then -- >> you're quite confident in saying that? >> i'm quite confident in saying that. we would understand the danger that would represent. >> we're just getting started here. kelly o'donnell, ashley parker, thank you for reporting. coming up, donald trump jr.'s quote love affair with moscow amid growing fallout, new reporting about his own ties to russia. ties that began long before his father's presidential run. plus, president trump's nominee to be the next fbi
director in the hot seat today. senators grilling him on everything from the firing of james comey to the russia investigation and the efforts of special counsel, robert mueller. >> i would consider an effort to tamper with director mueller's investigation to be unacceptable and inappropriate and would need to be dealt with very sternly and appropriately indeed. when it's time to move to underwear toddlers see things a bit differently thanks to pampers easy ups while they see their first underwear you see an easy way to potty train pampers easy ups our first and only training underwear with an all-around stretchy waistband and pampers' superior protection so you'll see fewer leaks and they'll see their first underwear pampers easy ups, the easiest way to underwear. pampers i just want to find a used car start at the new carfax.com show me used trucks with one owner. pretty cool.
of the don jr. e-mail and other allegations that this whole thing about trump campaign in russia is a witch-hunt? is that a fair description of what we're all dealing with in america? >> well, senator i can't speak to the basis for those comments. i can tell you my experience -- >> i'm asking you as the future fbi director, do you consider this endeavor a witch-hunt? >> i do not consider director mueller to be on a witch-hunt. >> that was earlier today on capitol hill. the confirmation hearing for fbi director the nominee chris wray. the man president trump has chosen to fill this seat left vacant after the firing of james comey. the trump/russian collusion and donald trump jr.'s e-mails showing he was willing to work with russia to help swing the election in his father's favor. here's more with lindsey graham who pushed for his thoughts on the actions of don jr. >> should donald trump jr. have taken that meeting? >> well, senator, i don't --
hearing for first time your description of it so i'm not really in a position to speak to it. >> let me ask you this. if i got a call from someone saying that the russian government wants to help lindsey graham get elected, they have dirt on the opponent, should i take that meeting? >> inyou'd want to consult -- >> i think -- >> if you get a call from somebody suggesting that a foreign government wants to help you, by disparaging your opponent, tell us all to call the fbi. >> to the members of this committee, any threat or effort to interfere with our elections from any nation state or any nonstate actor is a kind of thing the fbi would want to know. >> all right. so i'll take it that we should call you and that's great
answer. >> a great answer, pal says senator -- garrett hague is joining us from capitol hill and bill gavin. garrett, pretty positive reviews across the line from democrats and republicans for the performance of chris wray today. >> yeah. willie, first of all that's why so many people on the hill appreciate graham. you have to never wonder what he's thinking about the issues. as for chris wray i think he pretty well nailed it today. the republicans were going to support him coming in this morning. i talked to probably the majority of the democrats on the committee afterwards and even those who weren't ready to say they'd vote for him came away very impressed. i think the reason for that is he answered sort of the fundamental question here which was was he going to be the director of the fbi or donald trump's director of the fbi and based on some of the answers to the questions you have already played, you know, saying he doesn't think the mueller investigation is a witch-hunt,
saying he'd resign if he was asked to do something he thought was illegal or unethical, talking to the committee if he were asked to interfere or change an investigation in any way. he checked a number of the boxes and put himself on the record not just saying i will be independent but answering these questions in a way that suggests he really means it. the caveat to all of this, dianne feinstein the ranking democrat who says she does plan to vote for him. she said we won't know how strong his convictions are until they're tested. i want sounds like -- it sounds like they'll be tested. i don't think the democrats will try to hold this vote up or try to oppose him. >> bill gavin, as someone who served as the assistant director to the fbi, boy, what a moment to walk into this job. yes, you're the nominee of president trump, but there are investigations going on everywhere you look and you know that the president fired the last fbi director. >> willie, i was most impressed with chris wray's responses and the way he answered the questions today. it showed his personality.
it showed his temperament. it showed his legal acumen in a lot of these questions. and it also showed he fully understands the internal workings of both the fbi and the attorney general's office. that's a big plus in something like this and i think somebody sprinkled ground glass on lindsey graham's wheaties this morning, but thement be line the way he -- the bottom line is he didn't lose his composure. and he showed a lot of depth of thought and honesty in the questions. i think that anybody who looks at chris wray as an individual who, you know, might be a little low key, don't confuse low key with being naive. i have been around long enough and in the fbi long enough to find that some low key individuals are silent killers.
i just think that this -- after watching hip today i didn't know him from the past i go back to work for christopher wray in a heart beat. >> given what we know about president trump's relationship with the previous fbi director and that he demanded an oath of loyalty from his fbi director what do you think should be the mindset of chris wray coming into all he's coming into right now? >> i think he's a very, very steep learning curve in terms of what's going on. he kind of demonstrated that today with his answers. it is a steep learning curve for him, but i also think that if the president of the united states demands a loyalty oath for him, the next thing he hears from chris wray is a letter of resignation. he's a guy who will stand up for his beliefs. he expressed that today. i think he did it very well. >> let me ask you about chris wray, a guy that donald trump nominated obviously. republicanss and democrats, dianne feinstein among them saying he did well today.
i'm going to vote yes for him. what does the job look like in a way that was different maybe for a previous fbi director? >> i think the key difference is that wray is now entrusted with maintaining the integrity of government. it's not just simply about the fbi performing the tasks you expect the bureau to perform. it's about knowledge that the key people in touch stone institutions in this country not political hacks coming out of something like an american version of a chavista government. it sends a signal of government that confidence is at an all time low and they're attacking the deep state as if it's some kind of conspiracy against their elected officials. he's standing up and saying this sold deep state is what stands between us and the lawless regime. >> yeah, senator leahy asked about this loyalty pledge during the hearing today. and wray said my loyalty is to
the constitution, and the rule of law and the fbi. you shouldn't have to make this point. >> but you do right now. this is a white house that does not respect limits. perhaps it doesn't understand. >> doesn't understand. >> doesn't understand there are limits. but there are. i think chris wray in his testimony, you know, set those barriers. set those lines. and i think he's going to demand that they be respect. i hope. >> all right. bill we'll be having broken glass on our wheaties tomorrow at your recommendation. some are getting more vocal over the russian headlines, but what will it take for more of them to distance themselves from the white house? we'll ask one who is breaking with the white house on a number of issues. >> everyone needs connected with the -- everyone needs connected
with this campaign from time you saw dr. zi value go until you drank with the president, this drip drip drip is undermining the credibility of the investigation. what's going on? oh hey! ♪ that's it? yeah. ♪ everybody two seconds! ♪ "dear sebastian, after careful consideration of your application, it is with great pleasure that we offer our congratulations on your acceptance..." through the tuition assistance program, every day mcdonald's helps more people go to college. it's part of our commitment to being america's best first job. ♪ heri think i might burst..... totally immersed weekenders. whatever kind of weekender you are, there's a hilton for you. book your weekend break direct with hilton.com and join the summer weekenders.
i'm not going to go into hypotheticals only because i think it's important that we get to the bottom of this. as you all know, i is supported bob mueller being appointed special counsel and i think we need to let him and his team and our investigators here do their jobs and follow these leads wherever they may lay and wherever they may go and follow the facts. >> that's house speaker paul ryan weighing in on donald trump jr.'s e-mails just today. joining us is congressman dent republican of pennsylvania. good to see you, sir. you have broken previously with the president on things like the travel ban and on health care as well. you're not a guy who walks in lock step with president trump
and you came out yesterday and said the meeting with donald trump jr. and this russian intermediary was problematic. why is it so difficult for many of the colleagues to say that, at least there shouldn't be a meeting on the opponent, in this case, hillary clinton, and a foreign entity? >> i said at the very least this issue is -- this matter is now -- it's problematic and it's damaging. i agree with the segment you ran with trey gowdy who said that this drip drip drip is damaging the credibility of the administration. that if they have information about any potential contacts with the russians in the campaign days they should turn them over immediately. it seems we're learning about them from the media and the new york times in this case. it speaks to the broader issue of the russian policy. i'm at a loss to explain, i won't explain this administration's attitude on
russia. it's a hostile actor and that really has not earned anything that -- for example, we shouldn't be entering into a cyber agreement with the russians right now. i mean, they're clearly bad actors and there's no reason to do such a thing. they're trying to undermine our alliances in nato, trying to break up the eu, undermine american power and influence throughout the world. at this time we should be ratcheting up sanctions not trying to collaborate with them until their behavior changes. >> the response of trey gowdy has been the exception not the rule, speaking out on what donald trump jr. did. take us inside the cloakroom, what are they saying, what are republicaning really saying about what happened with donald trump? i understand that paul ryan has a job to do. there's some diplomacy there. what are they saying in private? >> well, i think my colleagues are, you know, very concerned about the whole matter. i mean, how can't they be? i mean, it seems to me on the one hand the administration has said there's nothing to see here, but it seems in many cases that the administration then
does things to, you know, by firing jim comey and other actions that have been taken to try to slow down the proceedings. so it seems to me that if they have nothing to fear then they should welcome the mueller investigation and cooperate. anything that would try to, you know, impede that investigation, you know, sends a signal that maybe there is something they're hiding. i think that's why the administration needs to get out of its own way. >> congressman mark halperin is up the block from you in washington. and he has a question. >> not meant to be a cute or a trick question. what are the motivations for republicans do a tough, thorough, aggressive investigation of a republican administration that could do the republican president harm? >> well, look, we have a job to do as congress. we're a separate but equal branch of government. and we all -- i think everybody in congress in both parties know
that russia did interfere in our election. that's beyond debate. as members of congress we have do is a stand up and say that was not only wrong, but get to the bottom of it. find out what happened, what they did, on the criminal side that's up to obviously director mueller to see what he might find. but we have a responsibility as congress to conduct proper oversight and when the russians meddled, we should be engaged and i'd be saying the same thing if it were a democratic president. if the russians helped hillary clinton in that regard, we should be conducting that same level of oversight. >> congressman, let me ask you the question that lindsey graham asked the nominee for fbi director, if you received an e-mail from someone representing the interests of the russian government or any other government, saying i have some dirt on your opponent, let's meet about it, what would you do? >> wow. i mean never had that situation occur. but i'll tell you what. we have all as candidates i'm sure we have had people come to us with information, you know, and i'll call its in the realm
of opposition research. >> this is different. this is different. this is a foreign entity. >> it's usually -- and you always handle those things very delicately. i think with a foreign entity i would -- boy, i don't know what i would do. never thought about it. i guess the proper thing to do is to contact -- is to contact law enforcement. but i never had that situation and i hope i never do. but i think that would be -- that would certainly raise an eyebrow. i would have to have conversations with my team saying what's this about, if a foreign actor came to see me. in fairness though, many of us in congress we have constituencies where there are -- they're large ethnic communities and they speak with accents and you're not sure of their citizenship. look, russia is a hostile -- they're hostile to the united states, they're an adversary. we would have to be very careful with any kind of contact with an entity like that. >> so in your view, donald trump jr. should have gone to law enforcement when he got that e-mail? >> well, i would have run that
up to the flag pole to the proper people in the campaign and said -- hey, this should have raised a red flag and turned this over to somebody, you know -- that's where i think he probably -- it would be proper to call the fbi. they have -- they're doing counterintelligence all the time and we all know that. and i think that's what i would have done. gone to law enforcement. >> congressman charlie dent, republican of pennsylvania, appreciate your time. thank you. still ahead donald trump jr.'s ties to russia long before he exchanged e-mails with russians about hillary clinton. he had already cemented deep ties within moscow. up next, new reporting on his time there that reads like a quote, scene from a cold war spy movie.
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strapger to russia, politico reported that he quote spent far more time in the country and developed personal ties there that continued beyond the november election. and comments unearthed from the 2008 real estate convention proved that russia had not pooled the wool over his eyes when it came to their sinister dealings. quote, russia is just a different world he said. one where any investment is at risk because it is a question of who knows who, who's brother is paying off who, et cetera. it really is a scary place. now don jr. finds himself squarely at the center of a saga that seems straight out of russia's playbook. let's bring in ken dilanian, national security reporter and susan glasser international affairs columnist at politico and former moscow cobureau chief for "the washington post." ken, let me start with you. a lot of people in the intelligence world have looked at this meeting set up with the russian lawyer as perhaps a dangling of bait to see how the
trump campaign might respond. how would that work exactly from the russian side? >> yeah, no, you're right. almost every current and former intelligence official i have talked to about this sees its the same way. they say this is right out of the russian playbook. using a family member who has a relationship with the russian business man or the pop single emin agalarov and his father who is an oligarch. so they're play on that familial connection and they offer a promise of some information and then you know the russian lawyer may or may not have been involved in that. her story is she came to talk about the sanctions and this russian adoption issue. see may have been a -- she may have been a dupe, but they send her in there to see whether -- i'm just repeating the theory that i have heard from many current and former intelligence officials to see if the trump campaign would be amenable to this gesture. and donald trump jr., you know, not only was he amenable. he took the meeting, brought senior members of the trump campaign.
that may have sent a message in fact it was a dangle that that i'd be open to future meetings. >> as someone who's covered russia for a long time n the interview with keir simmons yesterday on nbc, the attorney said i'm not working with the russian government, i have no connection to the russian government. so that would put that at a random meeting between a woman who wanted to be put in touch with donald trump and an attorney from russia. does that fly with you? >> obviously vladimir putin remember has denied having any involvement with the 2016 hacking. people who have followed this closely whose opinion i trust on this believe that not only is the lawyer somebody who's very connected to the kremlin and has been used at their behest in a number of very politically sensitive cases before. but also, you know, in the same way that russia didn't actually go out of its way to hide the role. what i found living there for four years is that the kgb and the domestic successor the fsb
is not at all subtle when its comes to things like this. that e-mail we when we read it yesterday, it was not subtle. it was can they really have put that in writing? i would say that the answer according to people who spent a lot of time looking at how russian spy agencies work is yes. it could be that unsubtle. >> and ken dilanian, how do you suspect russia if this was russian pushing this attorney toward the trump campaign chose don jr. as its mark in this case? >> well, you know, as you point out that politico story laid out that don jr. is doing business in russia going back to 2006. he's had a warm relationship with people in russia. he's tweeted about his pleasure with the country. he went to the miss universe pageant and he didn't -- you know, so they may have found that as a way in and they may have succeeded because he certainly was able to get the meeting with some of the senior officials in the campaign. >> bret, there aren't many
people who believe this is a random attorney who decided she was going to call up a friend who was a pop singer, get him to have his publicist e-mail trump jr. and talk about the adoption. what's the chain of command knowing what you know? >> well, look, with all of these major operations, putin has been heavily invested in it. you know, i actually think back to the lit ve even coe murder and putin had a hand in it. one doesn't leave the kgb. she came in to talk about quote adoptions which is russian code for the magnitsky act. the most effective sanctions that we have placed against high russian officials for corruption and crime. this is a high priority for the
russian government. what's also interesting beyond the question of what they could provide trump is there belief that trump would be the ideal president for doing russia's bidding should he succeed. and that's i think a point worth making because the administration has been so keen to deny that vladimir putin would have had an interest in seeing him elected as president. >> you know, susan, it's interesting listening to don jr. last night on fox he was asked specifically whether or not he had other meetings that he hadn't told people about with russia. he said i don't think so. i guess it's possible, i don't remember a meeting of some kind. but this does open up the question of what other meetings were there? if jared kushner was in the room, if paul man afort was in the room and you didn't report this one and jared kushner has two other meetings that he didn't report and had to retroactively put on his disclosure form, what else is still out there? >> well, the answer is a lot could still be out there. i was struck in reading this correspondence yesterday that it seemed in fact like there
already had been a conversation. we don't have the context for it. but, you know, this correspondence suggests he's familiar with president trump's personal assistant rona. that e-mail correspondence suggests it's known that to trump campaign that the russian government is supporting them. that's the context in the way i read the e-mail so that suggests there's much more information we don't have. second of all, somehow, donald trump jr. he's just a kid, he's mistreated. not only is this a 40 something guy, but i think michael crowley's piece in politico it shows he's had over a decade of time invested and been a key trump organization business person in its dealings in moss row and -- moscow and clearly trump and his son would have been on the russian's radar screen even if they didn't expect him to run for president as few of us did. that would be standard operating procedure according to those i have spoken with for monitoring
for surveillance, for having something on you. that was my experience as a correspondent there as well. they just want to have something on you. that happened by the way to my husband peter baker and i as soon as which arrived in moscow. there were you know outreaches from sort of shady people who we took to be connected with, you know, government organizations. that was every correspondent we knew experienced that. american business men experienced that. that would not be at all surprisi surprising. >> all right, susan glasser, we appreciate it. ken dilanian, thank you as well. the legal questions surrounding donald trump jr., did he actually break any laws and will his defense hold up in federal court? one of the special prosecutors during watergate joins me next. ♪ [brother] any last words?
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in the roughly 30 hours since donald trump jr. released four pages of e-mails about his meet being with a russian lawyer last year, the legal questions now are mounting. experts hoemg in on several key phrases, including an explicit statement for trump jr. to meet with a, quote, a russian government attorney with very high level and sensitive information about hillary clinton as, quote, part of russia and its government's support for mr. trump, all to which don junior responded, if it's what you say, i love it. joining me now, jill wine banks, one of the special prosecutors
during the watergate scandal and former general counsel to the united states army. do you see a crime yet based on what you've seen in the last 24 hours or so? >> i certainly see more than smoke now. you have a very clear violation of the election laws, which say you cannot take anything of value, which would include any kind of information that would be helpful to your campaign. you cannot take anything of value from a foreign national, let alone a foreign government. and i don't have any question in my mind that she was a foreign agent of a foreign government. but even if she wasn't, she clearly was a foreign national, and the meeting should have never taken place. i think it did send a message to russia that the trump campaign was willing and amenable to further meetings. >> well, here is the response from donald trump jr. it's a pretty easy one. he says nothing was exchanged, so there was no violation of any campaign law. he said he was set up for an
adoption meeting by a guy he trusted or knew a little bit and he said it turned out to be kind of a bait and switch. it wasn't exactly what he thought it was going to be. he didn't walk out of there with any information. he called it a nothing meeting. so do you still see a criminal connection? >> i do. first of all, we don't know what information he got. >> right. >> we only have his version of it. and remember, you read the e-mail and it's a very clear request for a meeting about negative information from the russian government as part of their effort to help the trump campaign and to hurt the clinton campaign. that cannot be any clearer. and donald junior answered, i love it, especially if it's later in the summer. and that little phrase is being ignored. but remember, he met on june 9th with this russian lawyer, identified to him as a russian government lawyer. and on july 25th, on the eve of
the democratic convention when the information was weapon niezed to do the maximum damage, that's when it was released, and that's exactly what donald trump jr. wanted and probably donald trump sr was to do the most damage with the information that russia had to hurt the democrats. and it did cause chaos. >> jill, we've been so focused on donald trump jr. jared kushner was in that room as well. even if it was for 7 or 8 minutes. he breezed in and breezed out. and he was on the e-mails that had that subject line that said it was about russia and hillary. what kind of liability does jared kushner face right now? >> it makes it really hard to believe that he accidentally omitted that meeting, as well as the soeothers from his disclosu forms. so it makes me wonder why he still has security clearance until that's cleared up. that requires that he be totally
honest on his disclosure forms. that is a criminal offense to violate by not disclosing it. saying you don't know or don't remember is not a defense, and it's hard to believe he didn't remember a meeting of that magnitude. >> all right. jill wine banks, former prosecutor in the watergate times. we always appreciate you. thanks very much. jen, let me go to you just for your thoughts and take a step back on this. donald trump, it's always been said that he was sort of one step away from this and maybe it was manafort or other people who were dealing with the russians if they were, in fact. but the minute he stepped in to help draft the other day on air force one on the way home from europe this explanation that turned out to be not true that meeting, things changed a little bit. >> it was a reckless thing to do and that became public. and mueller can now know that he was free to ask trump about that. think about that. and trump is basically under oath when he's talking to mueller. so that really opens him up there. and i just think when we learn
more about this report, trump is going to be all over this. junior said that information would be helpful later. and then during our convention trump says russia, if sewer listening, go ahead and release those 33,000 e-mails of hill larry. i don't think that was a joke. i think that was a direction. and sink trump is -- if he is managing what junior's response to "the new york times" is, he is all over this. he's in every decision. skpl i just think that so when this all comes out, republicans are going to be in a very tough situation because they're going to have the president have a lot of facts showing his true involvement in this and have to decide what they're going to do about it. >> the echo i hear historically 30 years ago is iran-contra, but the difference is reagan could fire much of his staff to create some distance. the problem with having your family is you can't fire your son and you usually can't fire your son-in-law. >> so, gene, who right now
sitting in the west wing of the white house or programs don junior in the outside of the white house should feel most nervous about what's happened in the last day. >> well, don junior, of course, but jared kushner, i think. he was the sort of cyber czar of the campaign. he is an official white house advisor. so he is -- has been right there next to the candidate all along and he was in that meeting. we were told he was in that meeting briefly, but he's the one who has had to amend his disclosure forms time and again. i think he would be feeling nervous right now. and another thing i think they're going to be watching, russian sort of fake news, very targeted messages that went out right before the election. wisconsin, michigan, in the places that were just sort of tipping toward donald trump, down to the precinct level these
voters were identified. so how did the russians know to identify who those voters were. >> all right. thank you, guys, so much. thank you all very much. good to be with you today. i'll see you tomorrow morning on "morning joe." that does it for this hour. i'm willie geist stepping in for nichole. >> willie, wait a minute. is this sunday morning? this is like our sunday morning hand off. >> except it's five o'clock in the afternoon. >> it's five o'clock somewhere. thank you, willie. if it's wednesday, timing is everything. tonight, tracking the trump russia timeline. >> whether there was any cooperation, coordination or collusion is part of our investigation. >> why the timeline suggests a willingness to work with the russians and to cover it up. plus, a pledge of independence. christopher wray, the president's pick to lead the fbi gets grilled on the hill. >> no,